German metal 3D printer manufacturer SLM Solutions Group has reported a 37 percent increase in revenue for the year to date.
In the first nine months of 2020, the firm recorded revenue of €45.9 million compared to the €33.4 million generated in the same period last year. While the third quarter (Q3) of 2020 saw the company’s revenue increase slightly on the previous quarter to €14.8 million, this figure was down 13% year on year from the €17.1 million posted in Q3 2019. This is the first time this year that 2020 revenue has dropped below the corresponding period of 2019, and SLM has attributed the decrease to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, SLM’s total revenue has shown continued growth throughout 2020, having reported the best Q1 revenue performance in its history earlier this year, rising 143 percent.
“SLM Solutions showed a solid performance in the third quarter,” said Meddah Hadjer, CEO of SLM. “Although the Covid-19 pandemic burdens our target markets and has led to a clearly noticeable reluctance of customers to invest, we nevertheless were able to improve revenue and order intake compared to the second quarter.”
SLM Solutions’ Q3 financial results
SLM records its revenue across two segments, Machine Business and After Sales Business. The Machine Business sector includes SLM’s selective laser machines and accessory devices, while the firm’s After Sales Business sector consists of revenue generated by services, spare parts, powder, training, and the installation of machines.
During Q3 of 2020, the Machine Business segment continued to drive the majority of the company’s growth (77 percent), generating €11.3 million, slightly down on the €13.4 million recorded for the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, SLM’s After Sales business reported €3.4 million revenue for Q3, a seven percent decrease on the €3.7 million generated in the same period in 2019.
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|EBITDA margin (% of total output)
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According to SLM, travel limitations and restrictions on access to customer premises to install and test new machines resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic had significant impacts on the above revenue results, in addition to softer capital spending by customers. Furthermore, the company’s machines which were ready for delivery could not always be installed and put into operation due to Covid-related restrictions.
SLM did, however, see a continuation of its positive trend in order intake experienced earlier in the year, as incoming orders amounted to €11.9 million during Q3, up from the €10.7 million recorded in Q2, and €2.9 million in Q1. In total, order intake for the first nine months of 2020 amounted to €25.6 million, down significantly on the €38.2 million reported across the same period in 2019, due to the global economic shutdown caused by Covid-19. SLM’s order backlog remains strong, though, with €19.5 million of machine orders held as of 30 September 2020, compared to €18.4 million held at the same time last year.
SLM’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to €-12.2 million for the first nine months of 2020, an improvement of €7.5 million on the same period in 2019 (€-19.7 million). The key driver, according to the company, is the increase in revenue it has experienced so far in 2020.
“In the third quarter, we also completed the review of our inventories, which has been ongoing since the beginning of the year,” said Dirk Ackermann, CFO of SLM. “This led to a negative EBITDA effect of €2.3 million in the past quarter. We do not expect any further significant balance sheet or P&L effects from this measure in the future, which means that we will see our operating performance much more clearly in our results from Q4 2020 onwards.”
The firm began a corporate restructuring in May 2019, and has since gradually made strides towards profitability. In March 2020, SLM offered €60 million of convertible bonds to its shareholders, which as of July 15 2020, raised €15 million. Future tranches will be backed by funds managed by shareholders Elliott Advisors.
SLM Solutions’ Q4 outlook and beyond
SLM is planning to unveil its next-generation SLM machine next week in the form of an online launch event, a project that Covid-19 has been unable to derail.
“Despite the adverse environment the development program of our next generation SLM machine is fully on track, which is of particular strategic importance to us,” explained Hadjar. “The upcoming market launch of this new machine is a significant milestone for the entire metal manufacturing industry, as it will revolutionize the industrialization of metal additive manufacturing using SLM technology.
“We are very pleased to present the most productive selective laser melting system available in the market on 10 November 2020.”
SLM’s management board has confirmed the guidance communicated in the company’s financial report for the first half of 2020, which forecasts a revenue increase of at least 20 percent for the whole of 2020, compared to that of the previous year (€49 million). The firm expects its Group EBITDA to improve to between €-13 million and €-18 million, from the €-26 million recorded in 2019.
It is worth bearing in mind that this guidance is based on the assumption that the Covid-19 situation will not see further significant deterioration and further lockdown measures put in place. In the last couple of weeks, France, Germany, and the U.K., as well as some other European countries, have imposed tighter lockdown restrictions, although the effect this may have on business supply chains is yet to be seen.
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Featured image shows SLM Solutions’ labs. Photo via SLM Solutions.